As Cleanup Crews Pass Sludge Buckets, Dallas County Predict "Full Power Within 48 Hours"

Categories: News
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Photos by Patrick Michels
A Blackmon Mooring cleanup worker handles the mess at the Dallas County Records Building this afternoon. Check after the jump for more shots of the mucky basement.
That's a look at the ongoing cleanup effort in the Dallas County Records Building, where a couple dozen rubber-gloved workers in smeared uniforms spent the day passing sludge-filled buckets to bail out the basement. By 4 p.m. they'd already filled up four tanker trucks, and were working on a fifth. But good luck getting rid of that smell.

As promised, County Judge Jim Foster rounded up a few friends to help explain the latest plans for coping with last night's busted water, and the ensuing power shut-down that's brought the entire county offline.

For now, the county's working slowly, at best, on paper and over the phone, but Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price said that while the cleanup will surely take a while, a generator should be installed tomorrow to get juice running to the county's servers running, and "we think within the next 48 hours, we'll be back up to full power."

Price passed along word from Dallas County's information technology department that "95 to 96 percent of the systems will be OK" when they flip the power back on. "We don't know what programs will be in that four percent," Price said, but that the county's data, which is backed up every night, should be fine.

As for why the county didn't have an off-site backup system ready to handle the IT systems, Price was pretty straightforward: "We woulda, coulda, shoulda. And we didn't."

In the meantime, Price said, while "nothing of any consequence" has been lost in the flooded basement, the cleanup alone has cost around $70,000.

At the jail, "We're doing things the old-fashioned way," said Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, running background checks over the phone before releasing inmates. There won't be any visits with inmates allowed at the jails "For the next day or so," Valdez said, "until this is taken care of."

For marriage licenses, Dallas County Clerk John Warren suggested people try Collin County if it's an "emergency;" the county issued a list of other alternatives for folks looking for the tax office services, car registration and the county clerk's office (included after the jump).

After the press conference, we spotted Judge David Hanschen in the crowd and asked how his family court handled the stress today. "A couple of the courts have gone totally paperless, and those courts obviously are hamstrung," he said, but because his court still runs on paper dockets which were printed off last week -- "I'm a dinosaur," he said -- "we didn't feel any effect at all."

As for Price's estimate of how soon the county's systems will be up and running smoothly, Hanschen wasn't totally sold. "If you believe that '48 hours,' I've got some real estate in Florida for sale too," he told us.

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Cleanup crew members pass buckets of sludge up the stairs from the records building basement.

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After pumping six feet of water out of the records building basement, cleanup crews still had muddy floors to clean up.

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Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price and Dallas County Judge Jim Foster at this afternoon's press conference.



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